Successor in place? Rob Manfred named Chief Operating Officer of MLB

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Takeaways: (1) Bud Selig is still leaving, which marks the longest he’s ever stuck with a retirement decision before; and (2) Rob Manfred is likely his successor given this move:

Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has begun the transition process in preparation for his retirement in January 2015 by appointing Robert D. Manfred, Jr. as the new Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball, he announced today.  The promotion is effective immediately.

Manfred, who has worked for Major League Baseball since 1998, most recently served as Executive Vice President for Economics & League Affairs, responsible for major economic matters such as revenue sharing and the debt service rule, as well as franchise-specific matters involving the 30 Major League Clubs.

According to the press release, this gives Manfred day-to-day control of Major League Baseball operations while Selig remains the final decision maker and deals with the larger matters before the league.

Ultimately it is up to the owners, not Bud Selig, to name the next commissioner. But with this move Selig is making it clear who he wants it to be.

Former major league pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez dies in traffic accident

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Former Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez died in a traffic accident in Havana on Thursday, per reports from the El Nuevo Herald and CiberCuba. No other deaths or injuries have been reported in connection to the accident. Gonzalez was 34 years old.

The Cuban righty defected from his home country in 2013 and signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies. A bout of right shoulder tendinitis compromised his bid for a major league role, but he finally broke through to the big leagues at the tail end of the 2014 season and turned in a 6.75 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 in just six outings. Another case of shoulder inflammation derailed any progress he might have made in 2015, however, and he recorded just five innings in Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the team officially released him prior to the 2016 season.

The Phillies released a statement following news of Gonzalez’s death: